SMBs are more mobile than ever (mostly thanks to Apple)

In the first 10 months of 2013, Intermedia users activated around 190,000 Apple devices. This accounted for 76% of total device activations on our service.

This means that, despite many studies showing Android’s overall lead in market share, three out of every four mobile devices activated by our small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers were from Apple.

Samsung is now the dominant #2

In January 2012, Samsung activations by Intermedia customers first eclipsed all other Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices in the battle for runner-up.

Since then, Samsung has surged far ahead of all other vendors. In the first ten months of 2013, Samsung saw just over 29,000 activations—as compared to the #3, Motorola, which saw just over 13,800 activations.

Apple vs. Samsung: the coming battle for the SMB market. Samsung surely recognizes its opportunity to tap this market. With initiatives like their KNOX mobile security solution, Samsung will likely compete with Apple for business users by driving down prices, extending functionality and addressing SMB needs like security.

Because many of our customers leverage Intermedia services on smartphones and tablets as the primary front-end for running their businesses, the ultimate winners will be businesses themselves.

The SMB mobile market is still expanding

Year-over-year totals show that mobile device activations are increasing in the aggregate. We don’t see evidence that Apple’s growth comes at the expense of Samsung, or vice-versa.

This suggests that Apple, Samsung and the other vendors are together expanding the base of businesses that access their IT services using mobile devices.

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As the largest independent provider of hosted Exchange, Intermedia is the leading source for objective SMB mobile device activation data. Learn more about Intermedia’s hosted Exchange >

Other interesting findings

Activation spikes are not tied to holiday sales. BYOD trends suggest that holiday gift giving would have a large impact on mobile device activations. And while we do see increases in device activations every January, our report found a far stronger correlation of activation spikes around vendor release cycles—especially when Apple releases new iPhones or iPads.

Businesses have ignored the iPhone 5c. Despite its lower price, the iPhone 5c was activated far less than the more expensive iPhone 5s in October 2013, the first full month since its release. There were only 1,521 iPhone 5c activations—as compared to 6,906 iPhone 5s activations. Even more interestingly, the older iPhone 5, 4s and 4 models also all saw more activations than the 5c.

This may suggest that business buyers are motivated more by functionality than by price. It may also suggest that buyers are confused by the many competing plans and prices offered by mobile providers and device retailers.

Keep an eye on Microsoft, too. While Windows smartphone and tablet activations made up only 1 percent of all 2013 activations, they grew by roughly 93 percent over that period. Microsoft’s planned purchase of Nokia, along with their aggressive mobile agenda, could make them a viable threat to Samsung and even Apple in the medium term.

How we got this data

The findings of this report are derived from our non-personally identifiable log of ActiveSync activations over time. Our customers use ActiveSync to synchronize their mobile devices with their desktop computers.

As the world’s largest third-party provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange, Intermedia delivers integrated email, calendars, contacts and other essential business tools to nearly 700,000 business users.

Intermedia is uniquely positioned to create this report because we’re the only business email provider in the world that possesses this volume of data without any affiliation to a particular device vendor or mobile operating system.

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